Saturday, May 23, 2015

Newspapers must use mobile platforms to preserve their voices in their communities, experts say

Newspaper publishers "need to follow their readers" to mobile devices "if they want to preserve their newspaper’s voice in the community," Paula Seligson of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association reports from a conference, “From Disruption to Transformation: New Strategies for Prosperity in a Digital Age,” this week at the University of North Carolina.

"Multiple presenters echoed the same theme, that the industry has seen a watershed moment toward mobile," Seligson writes. "Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute, and Robyn Tomlin, vice president of digital and communications at the Pew Research Center, presented complementing research that showcased the rapid changes in reader behavior."

Tomlin said 39 of the 50 top digital news sites examined in Pew's 2015 "State of the Media" report get more traffic from mobile devices than from desktop computers. "Rosenstiel said this means newspapers need to be cross-platform: 'You don’t have a ‘print audience’ or a ‘mobile audience'."

UNC's Penny Abernathy, author of Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability, said the changes in readers' behavior force publishers to consider “what it means to serve our advertisers in this new world.” For SNPA's list of takeaways valued by publishers at the conference, click here.

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